Pearls From Hong Kong
When my husband and I went over to China to get our daughter, before we flew to Shanghai and then on to Hefei, we went to a jewelry store in Hong Kong. This was the last year Hong Kong was under British rule. 1996.
We watched as a woman artfully strung pearls for our soon-to-be daughter. We envisioned gifting them when she reached age sixteen.
Sixteen came, fraught with teaching her how to drive a stick shift. (Never once did I grab the wheel, although I prepared for a crash once, thinking we were going to hit a telephone pole.) Also drama at sixteen was so great, as to make us hesitant to give her such a lovely gift.
This year, however, at graduation from High School, she received these pearls with a knot tied in between each one. The knots representing the knots in our stomachs as we flew military flights into the interior of the country. Happy music and the nose of the plane pointed straight upward. Hot wet towels handed out. And the nose of the plane thrust downward upon landing. More happy music. Knots for each of the ten planes. And knots for the anxiety we had at becoming parents.
It was the best thing we have ever done. To adopt our daughter. And the best thing we will ever do.